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Reflective Learning and Clerical Staff at a Local College: Implications for Management. By Dr. Mark A. Minott Dr. Carolyn Mathews Dr. Allan Young. Reflective Learning and Clerical Staff. Abundance of Literature on Reflective Learning in Education

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Reflective Learning and Clerical Staff at a Local College: Implications for Management

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Reflective learning and clerical staff at a local college implications for management

Reflective Learning and Clerical Staff at a Local College: Implications for Management


Dr. Mark A. Minott

Dr. Carolyn Mathews

Dr. Allan Young

Reflective learning and clerical staff

Reflective Learning and Clerical Staff

  • Abundance of Literature on Reflective Learning in Education

  • Few studies on reflective Learning in Business

Reflective learning rl

Reflective Learning (RL)

  • Reflective learning; “as thinking about what you do. (Gayle and Gayle , 1999); “thinking critically about what you do” (Farrell, 2001).

  • For our purpose reflective learning is the use critical thinking to aid in analysing, discussing and evaluating experiences so as to develop work-related knowledge and improve work-related practices.

Purpose of this research

Purpose of this Research

  • Addresses the lack of attention given to the relationship between RL and business.

  • Investigates the extent to which clerical staff in a local college engages with RL while on the job

  • Discusses the implications of findings for management.

Method mixed methodology

Method: Mixed Methodology

  • Comprehensive developed questionnaire with 30 Likert type questions; which measured a range of actions, feelings or perceptions regarding how respondents felt about their jobs(Measured variables being, VO=very often; O= Often; S= Sometimes; N= Never; N/A = Not Applicable)

  • Two open-ended questions which would provided qualitative responses.



The questionnaire addressed the six categories of RL offered by Valli (1997):

  • technical reflective learning

  • reflection-in-action

  • reflection-on-action

  • deliberative reflective learning

  • personalistic reflective learning

  • critical reflective learning

Participants and data collection

Participants and Data Collection

  • The participants were clerical or administrative positions in a local College in Grand Cayman. (13 individuals were identified, all but one was female)

  • Middle to upper management were excluded.

  • Four staff members based on initial response were selected to be interviewed.

Data collection

Data Collection

  • Prior to the distribution of questionnaire an e-mail was sent to all individuals involved in the research.

  • Questionnaires were hand-delivered since the College is not large.

  • Individuals were given one week to complete the survey. (10 individuals returned the survey = 77% completion rate)

Data collection cont d

Data Collection Cont’d

  • Interviews were conducted after working hours with the individuals selected to establish validity, reduce bias and to neutralize any bias in data responses given on the survey. (Used as triangulation)

  • Interviews provided a deeper understanding of the responses given by the participants.

Discussion of findings

Discussion of Findings

  • Of the 6 RL learning clusters Reflective in action and Reflection in action(Mean scores, 4.075 and 4.00) received the highest mean score indicating that clerical/administrative personnel were engaged in the RL process.

  • Further on a 5 point scale all clusters had mean scores greater than 3 on a 5-point scale.

Rl cluster means and sd

RL Cluster Means and SD

Summary of statistical data

Summary of Statistical Data

  • Overall RL is used by clerical and administrative Staff.

  • RIN and RON received the two highest scores. (4.00 and 4.05)

  • Technical RL received the lowest score of 3.65.

  • Highest Maximum Score for any one statement in the categories was in the DFL.(“When I make decisions, I look for all sides of the situation”)

Summary of statistical data cont d

Summary of Statistical Data cont’d

  • Thinking about the political dimensions and equal opportunity as a part of CRL received the lowest scores (3.84) in this cluster, however social and moral dimensions as an element of CFL had mean scores that was slightly higher than 4.

Summary of qualitative data

Summary of qualitative data

  • There was clear indication that employees did their best in carrying out their job tasks.

  • One group indicated that they “checked, prioritize, set time frame, investigate, implement and translate”.

  • The second group did not indicate the steps they took to ensure how best they carried out their jobs. This group said that they “ do their best, love their job and work hard”



  • Participants engaged in all types of RL, some more than others.

  • The study revealed that overall, participants tended to engage more often in RIN and RON. Indicating the they thought about job related events either before or after the task.

Conclusion cont d

Conclusion cont’d

  • Participants thought less about the political dimensions and equal opportunity aspects of their job (CRL, lowest score 3.84).

  • Participants thought more about the social and moral dimensions of the job as an element of (CRL, higher score 4).

Implications for management

Implications for Management

  • Firstly, management need to engage in and encourage RL as a cognitive process that will benefit both the organization and individuals, leading to greater efficiencies in the workplace.

  • Secondly, personal engagement with RL will enable employees to become conversant with tacit and explicit knowledge

  • Thirdly, knowledgeable managers of the RL process will be aware of its potential to achieve strategic goals.

Study limitations

Study Limitations

  • This was deliberately a small undertaken to explore an immerging issue.

  • Small sample size, one organization, large scale generalization may not be appropriate.

Study limitations1

Study Limitations

  • Study may have examined complex areas using a narrow empirical perspective.

  • Reliance on self-reports and descriptive information may have been based on what respondents choose to remember or disclose.

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